Monday, July 21, 2014

Waxing Poetic . . .






Top: Marshalls
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Venus
Bag: J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's







Dress: Macy's
Shoes: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Chinese Laundry, Bloomingsales Florist & Gift Shop, Brigantine
Scarf: Boscov's
Sunglasses: Cloud Nine, Ocean City boardwalk







Top: Wet Seal
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Venus
Bag: Target
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Cloud Nine, Ocean City boardwalk

. . . about mustaches.  This post isn't so much about poetry as it is about a nineteenth-century novel-slash-ghost story's commentary on grooming, social and otherwise. (But more on that later).  At first I didn't want to have anything to do with these mustache beads.  I thought that the homage to facial hair was tacky, not cute, and I refused to be sucked into a fad that drew its strength from such a slovenly statement.  But the beads were on clearance.  And perhaps even more importantly, they were neon.  So I swallowed my pride and strung them up pretty, illuminating their dubious charms with seed beads in exuberant yellow. (Yellow, I've come to learn, is the cinnamon of the color world, making everything around it sweeter.)  And you know what?  The result was cute, fetching and cheeky like a menswear shirt with a mini, or Liz Lemon and Tom (Selleck) in "30 Rock's" heyday.  

So back to that nineteenth-century thing.  No sooner had I typed the words "Mistress Mustache" as the title of my Etsy shop listing, then I (half) remembered a quote from Wilkie Collins's Woman in White:

"I said to myself, the lady is dark.  She moved forward a few steps -- and I said to myself, the lady is young.  She approached nearer -- and I said to myself with a sense of surprise which words fail me to express -- the lady is ugly!"

The narrator is a well-meaning if misguided guy named Hartright, and what he should have said was, "The lady has a mustache!"  At least that's how I remembered his speech going when I retrieved it through the cobwebbed (albeit only ten-year-old) lens of my senior seminar.  Because the lady in question, the gender-bending Marian Halcombe did have a mustache, a detail furnished elsewhere in White's considerable pages.  Indeed, the whole mustache thing may just be the scariest part of this iconic Gothic gotcha ghost story.  It sure made me shudder.  If Wilkie had known that an unwaxed upper lip would become the accessory of choice for It girls everywhere, emblazoned hipster-style on coffee mugs and tote bags and (I take issue with this one) pacifiers, then he probably would've given her a big gross mole instead.

Because Marian is no It girl; in fact, I'm sure that she'd laugh in the face of trends, her mustache dancing with each unladylike chuckle.  Swarthy, masculine, and always up for challenging the status quo, she's the ideal foil for Laura, her fair-haired, feminine, and too-well-behaved half-sister, a girly girl so gullible that her niceness threatens to shackle her to an evil husband -- that is, unless Marian has her way.

Born of the Victorian serial stories that were the great-granddaddy of the mustache-twirling, tied-to-the-train-tracks melodramas that would emerge a century later, this is one caper in which an abundance of facial hair equals virtue, not vice.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Take Note . . .







Top: Marshalls
Jeans: l.e.i., Macy's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Call it Spring, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's







Top: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Cloud Nine, Ocean City Boardwalk







Blouse: Candie's, Kohl's
Tunic: Candie's, Kohl's
Jeans: Kohl's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's



. . . in style!  For all those times when life seems like an endless errand, paper with pizzazz adds a certain something.  Indeed, to-do lists seem more manageable when accented by fruit and princesses and Hello Kitty.  I've collected countless notepads, journals, and note cards over the years; the little grouping here represents what remains and what is (of course) most photogenic.  I especially like collecting note cards because I love including handwritten thank you notes with my customers' orders.  There's something so nice about good old-fashioned, needs-a-stamp correspondence that you just can't get from a text or an email (a sentiment to which I steadfastly adhere even as I pen this digital post).  Long live the post office!

On another (ahem) note, above is the latest picture of my purple whatchamacallit plant.  A couple of weeks ago, I posted a different picture of my blossom buddy, also in the bloom of health, with the unfortunate report that it had since taken a turn for the worst.  (I didn't post a picture of that mess, dead flowers being less than blog-worthy.)  Guess what?  With a little more water and a little more care, this phoenix of a flower came back in full force, its plucky petals shooting up even taller than ever.  Sure, it has fewer blooms, and its added height has made it a little wild.  But these imperfections make it more interesting, adding character as well as strength.

Guess there's hope for this green thumb yet.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fireworks and Soda Jerks and Keeping it All Simply Strung






Top: Frederick's of Hollywood
Skirt: Lily White, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Target
Belt: Izod, gifted
Scarf: Kohl's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's







Top: Material Girl, Macy's
Skirt: Forever 21
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Nordstrom
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's







Bra top: Boscov's
Cardigan: Kohl's
Jeans: Princess Vera, Kohl's
Shoes: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Target
Belt: Izod, gifted

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with soda jerks.  It just made for a nice rhyme.  I wanted to be up front about that.

You'd think I would've busted out the red, white, and blue for this post-Fourth of July post, but America's b-day or not, I found that color palette to be limiting.  Not that I'm not patriotic.  If anything, I hold the Fourth near and dear to my heart because that's when I first met the husband.  Seven years ago I was at a BBQ, wearing not red, white, and blue but orange, white, and blue, and telling people that the fireworks had been cancelled.  Not in a killjoy kind of way, just in a spreading-the-word-to-anyone-who-asked kind of way.  Later I found out that there had never been any fireworks planned in the first place, that they'd been made up to lure people away from competing bashes.  Needless to say, my town crier act didn't endear me to the other guests.  Which was why I was surprised to find myself in conversation with anyone, let alone a fellow straight shooter.  He was kind and quirky and funny and certainly didn't care about my little gaffe.  We were getting along so well that I found myself opening up about yet another picnic faux pas, this one several years old and involving a worm discovered while corn husking.  He laughed, and I laughed; it was the beginning of something.  Although I didn't know it then, I would never have to go on a first date again.  

Wearing a new piece of clothing is kind of like a first date.  Everything's exciting and new, but you don't know exactly what you're doing.  Things are a little stiff, a little formal, and not yet ready to mesh with each other, the fashion equivalent of volleying canned queries like "What kind of music do you like?" and "Do you have any pets?" over a too-big fried appetizer sampler.  Take this A-line Lily White skirt from Kohl's, an example of transitional wear if ever I saw one.  I wore it with a yellow ruffly blouse to make it more summery, but the blouse was a little too, well, blousy.  Something fitted would've made more of a contrast against the skirt's fullness.  What's more, I teamed it with a pastel shell necklace, which played up the school's-out vibe, and gray lace tights and black patent T-straps, foisting fall upon myself far too early.  It was Miami Beach meets Central Park in October, not bad, but not good either, much like those nuked mozzarella sticks.  Next time and the time after that I'll have a better handle on how to style this skirt until outfitting it is as much of a no-brainer as throwing on my oldest jeans.

If that isn't love, then I don't know what is.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

If Rappers were Royals . . .






Tank: Mossimo, Target
Skirt: Necessary Objects, Annie Sez
Crinoline: Party City
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: J. C. Penney's
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's
Headband: Gifted

. . . then they'd wear a necklace like this one.  'Cause it's huge.  Not to mention luxe in a kindergarten teacher-meets-Lisa Frank kind of way.  I think I'm going to wear mine (because as almost always, I have a double) with a black dress and black leggings and some sherbety legwarmers.  Just as soon as I find some sherbety legwarmers.      

Why is it that the word "castle" makes us think of rainbows and stardust and pink colliding in a cartoon kaleidoscope of marshmallow madness?  (And by "us" I really mean "me" and of course the good folks at Disney).  As history (and HBO - thank you, "Game of Thrones" ) tells us, palaces are more often the provinces of dungeons and dragons than of princesses and unicorns.  (Er, make that "stories" instead of histor(ies), as some people would argue that dragons aren't real, but you know what I mean.)  No, in the time of the turrets (enchanted or otherwise), dark, dank dwellings were the law of the land and personal hygiene left much to be desired (just think of the stench of all those unwashed gowns and cloaks).  Which is to say that it was all a little more depressing than some storybooks would have us believe.  Then again, this is just par for the course (watch out for that moat!), given that most lovely things are the stuff of smoke and mirrors.  And Disney.      

They didn't call it the Dark Ages for nothing.     

This is just one of the reasons why my era of choice remains the most excellent 1980s, a time when princesses popped instead of perished.  I just purchased a (and I would be remiss in not saying this) truly outrageous bangle from Etsy's Licorice Jewelry. That's right, it features none other than Jem, that alter-ego accessing, pink-and-blonde coiffed pop diva darling.  Back in the 1980s, there wasn't a girl between the ages of five and eight (nine? ten? How old are kids when they stop playing with dolls?) who didn't want to up and run off with the Holograms, at least until gym class was over.  I, of course, had a Jem doll, as well as Roxy from the evil Misfits.  I purchased Roxy under duress, my preschool graduation money burning a hole in my pocket as I trolled the aisles of Jamesway in search of Kimber, Shana, or even Stormer.  You know how in every mean girl group, there's always that one girl who really isn't so mean?  In the Misfits, that girl was Stormer, the blue-haired sometimes helper of the Holograms.  But some other kindergarten-bound brat must have snatched up the last one, because only Roxy remained.  Probably because she didn't have an ounce of nice in her, her white hair, purple and yellow-rimmed eye, and print metallic pants proclaiming her badass ways.  To be honest, she scared me a little.  

I think she'd be able to hold her own on "Thrones."